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Essays on The Crucible

by Arthur Miller

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Best topics on The Crucible

The Crucible essay focuses on the 1953 play by Arthur Miller. The play describes a partially fictional version of the Salem witch trials during 1692-1693, however, it was also written ... as an allegory for the practice of making accusations of treason or subversion without proper supporting evidence. Such methods were frequently employed by the US government during the Cold War, especially by the infamous Committee on Un-American Activities, when they accused people of being communists and persecuted them. Frequent topics related to this play are social injustice, mob mentality, comparisons with other works of art with similar themes like vindication, redemption, etc. and comparison with historical or present acts of persecution of minorities.
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Date

22 January 1953

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Author

Arthur Miller

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Type

Play

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Genre

Tragedy

characters
Major Characters

Abigail Williams, Reverend John Hale, Reverend Parris, Elizabeth Proctor, Francis Nurse, Rebecca Nurse, Giles Corey, Judge Danfort,

based-on
Based On

Miller wrote the play as an allegory, in an attempt to criticize his government’s persecution of people for accusations of communism.

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Symbols/Motives

Symbolism, people’s paranoia about other people’s lifestyle and points of view

influence
Influence

The Crucible is regarded as one of the most important works in American drama. It has been adapted for the cinema three times.

plot
Plot

In Salem, a Puritan town, Reverend Parris comes to be the new minister. He finds his daughter Betty and niece Abigail dancing with his slave Tituba in the forest. Betty is shocked when seeing her father, and she faints without waking. After that, rumors about witchcraft start spreading among the villagers. Reverend Hale arrives in town to begin a thorough investigation. Several women are accused of witchcraft. In the second act, the author compares these events to the fears of Communism that spread among American citizens after World War II. The story continues with arresting nearly forty people for witchcraft in Salem. The trials cause riots and anger in nearby towns.

purpose
Why Is This Topic Important?

The play is tremendously emotional, with several twists between the lines. Readers can explore evil and feelings of hate and anger, but pureness as well.

idea
Main Ideas

The idea of goodness vs. evil is the major theme throughout the play. All characters are taught to be good by their religion, so they try to find goodness in the reality of their lives.

quotes
Key Quotes
  • “Peace. It is a providence, and no great change; we are only what we always were, but naked now.”
  • “We are what we always were in Salem, but now the little crazy children are jangling the keys of the kingdom, and common vengeance writes the law.”
  • “Life, woman, life is God’s most precious gift; no principle, however glorious, may justify the taking of it.”
interesting-facts
Interesting Facts

The play’s first performance was on Broadway. Madeleine Sherwood, Beatrice Straight, and E. G. Marshall were the leading stars.

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Arguments For

The play is easy to read, and it’s appropriate for high-school and college students. They can explore its different layers behind the major theme of good vs. evil.

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Arguments Against

There are a few structural flaws in the plot, and several characters that lack depth.

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